Creek Connections Introduction Worksheet 2001 Connect with Your Creeks Part 1: 1) What are some different ways / research methods that you could use to determine the health of a waterway? The research methods that can be used to assess your stream quality include chemical parameter testing, biological monitoring (macroinvertebrates are the most common but not the only way), and physical parameters, habitat and land use assessments. Results to these tests, over time, can be compared to one another to view changes in stream health. Conducting more than one type of method helps give a better overall story of what is happening with your waterway. 2) While involved with Creek Connections, what research topics pertaining to waterways might you be interested in pursuing individually or as a class? Show examples of topics covered in past classes to help jump-start the students. 3) What are you most excited to learn about or experience while involved in Creek Connections this year? 4) What is the Creek Connections website address? http://creekconnections.allegheny.edu Part 2: 5) What is a watershed? The total land area that contributes water to a stream or lake. This can also be referred to as a drainage basin. 6) What creates the boundaries of a watershed? High points on land (e.g. hills, mountains, or rises in elevations) With dashed lines - - - -, draw the boundaries on the watershed diagram to the right. 7) Indicate with a the lowest point/s/ in this watershed where the water will drain. 8) How many major watersheds are there in Pennsylvania? Which one do you live in? There are 6 major watersheds – Susquehanna, Ohio, Delaware, Lake Erie, Potomac, Genesee. All Creek Connections schools are located in the Ohio River watershed except Conneaut Valley High School. 9) What is the name of the waterway that your class will be studying this year? This answer will vary with each class. 10) Do you think this waterway is healthy or unhealthy? Why? Hopefully through your scientific investigations this year, you will learn more about the health of this waterway and see if your prediction is correct. Have the students specify any evidence they may have seen or experience that they may have encountered that would explain their answer. Have they heard anything from other people about the waterway – maybe from your previous Creek Connections classes? Maybe discuss any newspaper articles or publications they may have seen on that stream’s water quality. 11) Groundwater movement: On the illustration to the left, draw the path that you think the dye will flow through the simulator (which represents a typical hillside). Note where the dye starts, your prediction for where it will end up, and the path it travels in between. On the right, draw what really happened? Did you predict correctly? Hopefully students indicate downgrade movement underground (right to left) and maybe show the water discharging (exiting) into the stream. For the most part the dye will not go deep into the bottommost layer, but stay in the upper sand and gravel layers. 12) What allows water to flow through underground soil and rock layers? The composition of the earth (soil /rock type and size) will affect how water flows underground. Porosity (pore spaces within soil and rock) and permeability (“connectedness” of the pore spaces) play key roles in this. The better the porosity and permeability, the faster the water will move through the ground. All groundwater is pulled by gravity, due to the fact that high points in watersheds drain to low points (streams and lakes). Groundwater is also under high pressure underground, so it tends to seek out escape routes of less pressure (ie. a spring, stream, or artesian well) therefore sometimes defining gravity and movement upward through rock/soil layers. 13) If you buried a leaking barrel of toxic waste 10 feet down into a hillside, why might your pollution cause water problems for a farmers well ¼ mile away and kill some trout in a stream ½ mile away? The movement of groundwater allows pollutants to move under the earth’s surface, causing contamination of all groundwater below the pollutant introduction site. Since this is on a hill, the groundwater will be flowing downhill, affecting all wells downgrade of that point. Groundwater does not always stay underground. It can also re-enter a stream and become surface water, which flows downstream through the watershed.
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